Businesses May Soon Live And Die By Their Reviews
Most people are familiar with online reviews. There are independent review sites like Yelp, Opentable and Tripadvisor. There are also social reviews on Facebook and Google even provides its own review service. Despite all these services, many businesses have little to no idea of their online reputation. Customers are talking about them online but this feedback is ignored or dismissed.
Overlooking consumer feedback has never been good business practice but now it is becoming a serious factor in SEO as well. Google has been using ratings as part of its algorithm since 2009. Ratings also show up in search engine results. More importantly, a growing majority of customers consult and act on reviews before they ever make a purchase.
Can Your Customer Contact You
That means it is time for businesses of every size to take their online reputation seriously. This all starts with providing appropriate channels for complaints. A great way to start is:
- Make sure there is contact information on your website and offer a phone number if possible.
- Larger businesses may also consider using a live chat option.
- Have a social media presence and check ratings and comments.
People making a complaint may feel more comfortable speaking about their problem with a real person so a phone number is crucial but any way they are able to voice their concerns directly with the business is great and they are less likely to leave a negative review online.
Find Where People Are Talking About You
The next step is to identify where people are talking about you online. A good place to start looking is on social media and Google reviews. If you can find out where you are being talked about, you can join the discussion, address problems quickly and direct complaints to channels you control. For example, if you find someone has given you a negative review on your Facebook page, you can respond to the issue and tell the customer how you intend to make it right. You can also instruct them on how to contact you privately to talk about the issue further. This shows you are taking the complaint seriously and moves the discussion out of the public’s view.
Start The Conversation
Once you have found where people are talking about you, it is time to start addressing their concerns and praise. Make sure you sound sincere and human in every response. A good rule of thumb is to look at your response and see if it sounds like you are reading from a script. Customers can smell insincerity and stock answers. If you are unsure how to address a criticism remember these rules:
- Stay on subject, address their concern but do not rant or get off topic.
- Do not get personal. Some ratings can be pretty mean but you need to be professional.
- Stay calm. You cannot take back things said online so keep calm and offer a measured response.
- Offer a resolution. Tell the customer how you will fix their complaint.
Fix The Problem
After you have addressed the negative review online or on the phone, it is time to get to work. You cannot simply make empty promises and hope that negative reviews will go away. You need to address legitimate concerns and take action. This will help prevent future negative reviews and show customers that when they speak, you listen.
Businesses that take their online reputation seriously will see results both in SEO and customer satisfaction. Happy customers leave good reviews and share their positive experiences with their friends both in person and on social media. That means one happy customer can quickly turn into many regular customers. If you would like help with reviews or controlling your online reputation contact MRS today